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My Little Sister Taught Me How to “Snapchat Like the Teens” (buzzfeed.com)
577 points by jseliger on Feb 10, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 347 comments

I am the very proud father of a 14yo girl whom I have turned into an teenaged IT guru over the years.

She learned to read at age 3 using the very well done "Cat In The Hat" desktop program, and since then I have turned her on to everything from Gmail at age 6 to Ableton at 12.

I've decided that Snapchat is where it ends for me/us last year...she needs something to be hers and her friends alone, without "Dad" poking is old-ass nose into things.

I think she really appreciates that I haven't bugged her about connecting and sharing on that platform, and I know deep down it was time.

But boy...do I sometimes miss that 6yo angel sending me cryptic "i luvu" via Gmail.

I'm biased by my perceptive (legal) but imho girls between 12 and 18 should not be allowed connected cameras. I've had too many conversations with horrified fathers and crying children after a disturbing image ends up somewhere it was never meant to be. There are just too many people, and I include cops in this, out there looking to get kids into serious trouble. I know that kids live a life in pictures, but that public record of everyday activities too often come back to haunt them.

And fyi for fathers: Do not share a phone with your daughter. Do not borrow her phone, nor lend her yours. Some pictures are fine to be in her possession but if found in your possession could destroy your world.

> And fyi for fathers: Do not share a phone with your daughter. Do not borrow her phone, nor lend her yours. Some pictures are fine to be in her possession but if found in your possession could destroy your world.

And the fact that you have to say that is a great example of what's wrong with the legal system in the US. Common sense about applying laws has been stripped away.

Not boys? Boys send nudes too, and often request them. Isn't that soliciting child porn? We need to be feeding kids (boys and girls) way more information and hoping they don't mess up too badly.

I have yet to see a boy in my office. I'm in no doubt that it happens every day, but the cases I've had contact with all involved young girls, or at least images of them.

I think there is a different dynamic with males. Boys seem to show off by photographing themselves with things, with cars, cash or even tigers. [see link] Girls seem more likely to create images focusing on their person or their friends' persons. There is also some sexual dimorphism at work. Boys simply have less to physically cover, probably making inappropriate or accidentally inappropriate images less likely.



Maybe we could instead go after the people who want to make careers out of destroying teenage lives with trumped-up child pornography charges? They seem like the real enemy in this stuff.

Are you going to be the representative or congressman who proposes a bill to decriminalise child porn? Or the president who signs an executive order to not prosecute child porn cases? How do you think that would play in the media and with the voters?

I'm aware of that feedback loop, but the comments I see here seem to view that kind of Draconian treatment of people, ones who are obviously not child pornographers or dangerous individuals, as a problem. So there seems to be at least a subset of voters who recognize the issue and think it's absurd.

This is partly a problem of common knowledge[1] - where lots of people are thinking the laws are absurd, but no one wants to be the first to say it openly, because they can't know for certain that anyone else is thinking the same thing. Getting a conversation going about how ridiculous some of these prosecutions for "child porn" are would be the first step towards a sane discussion of what those kinds of child protection laws should actually be, when they should be applied and when they shouldn't, etc, so that it stops being a third rail for lawmakers.

Might also point out that the recently passed "International Megan's Law" actually places a permanent mark on these people's passports labeling them as sex offenders.[2] These cases of a dad being permanently marked as a sex offender just for letting his daughter borrow his phone, or a 19 yro getting a naked pic from his 17 yro girlfriend, only end up being counterproductive to protecting the real victims. When you hear of someone labeled as a "sex offender" now, does it serve as a reliable warning? Or do you just wonder if the guy was unlucky enough to get caught pissing in public?

[1] http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=2410

[2] http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/02/obama_signs_int...

Oh, that shit is awful too don't get me wrong. I was just trying to make the point that both boys and girls can get in serious trouble (legally and personally/socially). I don't get or agree with the sentiment that teen girls, alone, should not have access to cameras. Attacking the wrong part of the problem.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you tell your daughter not or send nudes of herself to her friends, they might not end up on the internet.

> imho girls between 12 and 18 should not be allowed connected cameras

are you saying they shouldnt have a phone until they turn 18? that sounds super unrealistic

i think its important to respect their intelligence.

>There are just too many people, and I include cops in this, out there looking to get kids into serious trouble

maybe that is the problem we need to solve.

saying a young woman in high school shouldnt be allowed a phone sounds like victim blaming

    "i luvu" via Gmail
Ouch. Right in the onion sensor.

seriously. Memories of my 12-year-old doing the same.

My 7 year old sends me strings of poop emojis.

My kids were running around when they were 5 doing the Minions "bee-doo-bee-doo-bee-doo!" until my wife said "ENOUGH!"

They went to one of their iPods and SMSed "bee-doo!" to my wife. I don't think I've ever been prouder as a parent.

My wife does this to me :(

Which "Cat In The Hat" desktop program are you referring to? The CITH section of the PBS site, or something different? If the latter, then my Google-fu is currently failing me and would appreciate a pointer.


it's been virtualized and mobilized and everything by now, but kids have been entranced by this since I was a kid and something about the rhymes and the the drawings just work.

My house is a Linux house, so Thunderbird for mail. Over the years, it went from "that sucks compared to gmail" (didn't need to introduce gmail, friends I guess), to "Thunderbird is for our real email with our real domain, gmail accounts are for the other stuff"

I gave all the internet safety tips I could over the years, I don't want to know what "the other stuff" are!

Sorry for being an old-ass as well, but wasn't snapchat created to send nudes to other people in a way that they are automatically erased and can't be saved? I don't know if people still use it like that, but do you feel comfortable letting your 12 years old daughter use something like that?

As an old-ass father of 3 that pokes here and there I can tell you that does happen. However, that is hardly the point of it. It is because everyone needs to be able to say and do things that aren't recorded. That go away. And kids need space to experiment and grow in ways they are not watched. Honestly, from what I can tell it is used far more for making funny faces and moments than anything else.

Besides, if you are concerned that they are showing each other their bodies you have more to worry about than snapchat because it is going to happen regardless. At least nobody has got an STD from snapchat.

And after the things I found when doing a backup of my 16 year old's computer I'm more concerned with the pictures that stick around than don't. We had a talk about why I never want pictures of naked teenage friends on my network.

But if you think you can stifle teenagers, you are wrong. You just push them into the shadows and you out of their life.

Yes, but you know snapchat pictures aren't really deleted right? 'Temporary pictures' is a proposition that doesn't actually exist in the digital realm, and certainly not when a VC-backed company is proposing it.

I noticed several replies talking about Snapchat's practices, but no one commented on the huge number of applications that exist to download Snapchat content permanently and without triggering Snapchat's screenshot detection. It's not like these require any technical ability either: they are listed even in the iTunes Store and are very simple to use.

I'm not a parent, but if I had a child in the Snapchat age range I would show them how easy it is to make the impermanent permanent and that trust is placed on people, not technology. Untrustworthy people cannot be made trustworthy through technology.

In a way Snapchat is trying to be like DRM, and we all know how well that generally works.

Yes, they really are.

Read the "Message Deletion and Retention" section: https://www.snapchat.com/privacy

Oh come on, every phone can take a screenshot. Once you send a picture out - it's forever on the internet. That nude picture will end up in 4chan, 9gag, other teen image posting websites, then a dozen creepy guys will save them and share their collection...

Agree. Oh, and it will be also be used to generate other nudes - people create fake accounts, send the nudes as if they were theirs, and incite the other person to send nudes of their own.

As a thought experiment, if you were the head of ISIS or the Russian ambassador in Washington DC, would you or would you not expect your snaps to be "really deleted" aka actually private? Honest question, not trolling.

Snapchat won't protect you from a state-level adversary, nor does it need to. It may, however, protect you from a disgruntled ex leaking your photos, or from an employer snooping on your private life. It may even protect you from yourself when you come across an old post you really didn't need to see.

Snapchat attempts to use technology to enforce the social contract of "please don't repeat everything I say to everyone you know, and don't hoard it indefinitely", which is established protocol for, say, actual in-person conversations. By implementing a casual form of endpoint security, a non-sophisticated actor at the receiving end may not break this social contract without repercussions, since nominally, only the official client can get the payload; the official client deletes the payload upon receipt, and if the official client detects that a screenshot was taken or the message was saved, it notifies the sender. That's the feature, not off-the-record messaging.

I would expect that if I were personally targeted by ie NSA, they could intercept the snaps in transit, and those copies would not be deleted. Short of that though, I certainly do believe that snaps are indeed completely deleted after they are viewed (unless the recipient makes a screenshot) because the risk to Snapchat of lying about that far, far outweighs any potential reward.

I would expect them to take a picture of their phone with the picture I send them with another camera and arhive them for security reasons.

Instead, hold volume-down + power in your Android device.

Compared to facebook they go away and it's more a "Probably" goes away.

I'm sure there will be a few snapchat users that will get screwed by this but at least the majority of the use will vanish before these kids are old enough for jobs and the shit they did on snapchat doesn't show up in a background check.

The article clearly states how you can take a screenshot of a snap, thus saving it forever. That has always been an issue.

Stop pretending you know what you're talking about. Do you know how much money is saved by not keeping those pictures? Snapchat handles more pictures per day than facebook[0], which gets almost half a billion per day. I know a few snapchat engineers that concur that Snapchat really does not keep any pictures, which allows them to make interesting optimizations that Facebook (and similar) can't.

[0] http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/19/snapchat-reportedly-sees-mo...

> Stop pretending you know what you're talking about.

Whoa, that's totally out of line here. Please post civilly and substantively, or not at all.


Your comment would be fine without the first sentence (and maybe the second).

I just wanted to say it's really nice to see this type of moderation. I'm much more in favor of corrective action than just removing comments.

Thanks for doing such good work!

How in the world does that work? I'm too old to have caught that wave, but I have a younger sister, and it's not like the snaps her friends send her go poof into the ether if her phone isn't on the network when they are sent. They've got to get queued up in storage on a server somewhere, they've got to get sent to her phone, and I assume, checksummed to make sure they didn't get corrupted in delivery, possibly resent?

I mean, I hope SnapChat isn't keeping photos, or else they'd be sitting on one of the largest collections of child porn in the world...

You're right, I could've been more specific - they definitely need to sit somewhere if the destination phone isn't on the network or something, but they are deleted once viewed or some timeout has been reached. This of course also doesn't consider ways that the destination phone could store the photo (screen shot or something). But as far as snapchat is concerned, it's gone.

Well, the delete action doesn't happen until they've been viewed. The original comment was suggesting that delete-means-soft-delete-not-destroy, not that the photos are never stored at all.

Please let's stop equating naked children to child porn. That only helps the status quo which is willing and able to destroy the life of innocent people

According to https://www.snapchat.com/static_files/lawenforcement.pdf, Snapchat still stores a record of who you've snapped, and that information can be retrieved by courts/etc.

> Stop pretending you know what you're talking about.

Calm down.

> Do you know how much money is saved by not keeping those pictures?

Okay, fine. Even if the pictures aren't stored indefinitely (I'd assume they'd do batch deletions at the end of the day or something when latency isn't as important), all of the photos are encrypted with the same symmetric key which can be found in any Snapchat binary. Which means that they aren't any more private than sending unencrypted images.

Why aren't they encrypting end-to-end with private keys on the devices?

Because teenagers don't understand/care about that.

Because they don't do crypto properly. Some friends of mine broke Snapchat quite badly a few years ago (one of them goes through HN, so he might read this). The tl;dr is that you shouldn't trust any aspect of your security to proprietary services. Especially ones that don't do crypto properly.

An idea that a couple of friends (can't remember if cyphar was one of them) and I came up with: piggyback some actual crypto on top of Snapchat, using steganography to initially transmit public keys. Would be interesting to see this happen.

I think I was there. Can't remember though. The issue is that Snapchat has gotten more stringent about image formats and things (remember when bad crypto could cause the app to crash?).

> It is because everyone needs to be able to say and do things that aren't recorded. That go away. And kids need space to experiment and grow in ways they are not watched.

I miss the old IRC. I do mean it, the world of emojis and stickers and selfies is too vibrant for me; IRC wasn't recorded, it was text, private and I do miss it. Still using it for IT and Open Source, but not for private stuff any more, because private friends refuses to use it.

> IRC wasn't recorded

Except by anyone in the room with logging enabled.

Much easier to plausibly deny it was you in IRC, with Snapchat etc, it's much harder to deny that you sent the photograph of yourself from your mobile device.

So the point is that it isn't graphic, but text only. Nothing to do with recording. Which is a big point... Snapchat can erase images, it doesn't matter. People can still capture them in other ways.

IRC has a protocol for avatar photos. Some clients will even download/display them automatically. And a lot of clients render emojis these days.

If by emoji you mean the unicode table, yes, you're right.

Would you prefer they share nudes over some other service that doesn't erase the photos and does allow them to be saved?

man this is scary for me, I'm about to have a baby girl (she already has a Gmail account), I know I'm far from the "dad doesn't get 'it'" phase, but it is still scary.

Do you have any tips to make this transition easy?

I have four kids...two in college now...the other two are on track to be in a few years...I get compliments on them all the time...

The number one piece of advice I can give you is to suspend any preconceptions you have, consciously or unconsciously, about the kind of person they will be...don't force them into some mold you have in mind for them...they will be separate and distinct beings from birth...treat them as such with as much love and guidance as you can muster...let them breathe...

Also: Expose them to as many things as possible, and let them choose the things that they want to follow up on...

Model good behavior, so they will see what good behavior looks like...point out good behavior to them as opportunities arise...

And hope luck is with you...

Thank you very much, and congratulations on raising great kids. I'm really looking forward to the time ahead, the first few years are really fun - this is the time when you as a parent (or uncle/aunt) are a superhero to the child, you can do no wrong.

This is very nice advice. Thank you!

Congratulations!! I'm about to have a baby girl too (she is due on March 6).

I've been really stressed out about this, so I set out to have as many conversations with other dads as I could. The best thing that I heard was that you just need to accept it as part of their maturing process. You won't get it because you aren't meant to get it.

Then, I remind myself that when I was into AD&D, my Mom thought that I was worshipping Satan...:)

I would suggest you talk to mothers too, not just fathers. They might have insights that are important for you too :-)

Great advice. Also add your own parents to the list.

Great advice

Man, the age difference is what, 30-ish years? Of course you won't get it, and they won't 'get' your world. If you can comfortably relate to someone 30 years younger or older than you, something has gone wrong in your development.

Don't worry about it. You don't need to get it. You will hate her music, you will find her friends stupid children, she will think you're boring and no longer with it, and when she's grown up, you will annoy her with unwanted advice on how best to get around in the world of 20 years ago. It's an inevitable, normal part of life, not a problem.

Even if they get to that phase it's often temporary. I've got a young daughter and in retrospect my dad seems a lot smarter than he did when I was a teenager.

But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.


I have a daughter who is always trying to compete with her older sister. One time she was chatting online with some creepy dudes in private. She saw her older sister chatting with teen friends and thought it was the same thing. I would try to lay some ground rules and keep at it. Being a dad ain't easy on the nerves with girls. Rules get broken, but just make sure your relationship with her isn't. Daddy time is important at any age.

Every kid is different. You'll know what to do.

The great thing starting with a baby is you get to grow with them -- you don't have to be an expert right off the bat.

Gloria Wall (mother of four, spouse of Larry Wall) also has great advice that is worth repeating: You don't have to be an expert in children to be a parent -- you only have to be an expert in _your_ children.

Just after our son was born this was wonderfully summed up by a friend of mine as being like levelling up in a game. You start off with the absolute basics of keeping them fed and clean, and then just as you've got the hang of that something new is introduce. Before you know it you're at month 24, and seemingly without effort juggling food, drink, changes, entertainment, nap times, and telling them what they just said is probably not appropriate in front of granny.

That's exactly right. If you don't right away, it won't take long to find it.

Never forget to tell them "you are my vengeance on this world."

Accept you "won't get it" early on.

Cat In The Hat desktop software?

Hm, I searched and found more than one. Various companies: The Learning Company. Borderbund. MacKiev.

Which did you have?

My younger brother had the Borderbund one. I recall it being a pretty decent piece of software.

This "Cat In The Hat" app looks quite nice. Is it Mac/iOS only? I can't find version for Windows :(

Please don't. It lowers the bar for the type of comments on HN.

It's a video game for her. She doesn't look at the photos in the morning, she just responds to keep the chain going. It's like grinding. She has a score, tries to improve it, get trophies, new equipment (I mean filters), etc.

Yet Another Skinner Box.

EDIT: At least SpaceX and Tesla won the Crunchies instead of junk like Snapchat.

But a particularly powerful one, it's not attaching to feelings of escape or enjoyment but friendship and social status. So even if you dislike you can't not participate without serious consequences. Especially when you are at an age when social status is of extreme importance, that gives the operators of the network and app a hell of a lot of power and a new flavor of power at that.

I'll stick with Neko Atsume.

Mm. Such a fun game. Gotta get all the cats...

Life is a Skinner Box. That was the whole point of Skinner's experiments.


Indeed, sounds like Snapchat is using gaming techniques[1] for a social app.


[1] http://www.theverge.com/2015/5/6/8544303/casino-slot-machine...

That's true, but the trophies and points are barely any value in the day-to-day. For example, in deciding to reply to a snap, the thought "My score's gonna increase if I do this" barely crosses the mind.

It's always just about keeping the conversation. And since a lot of the conversation is filler that need not be saved forever, snaps have a unique position.

The bit of game theory they actively present is Seinfeld's "Don't Break the Chain" technique. Snapchat marks and elevates contacts you individually snap at at least once a day, moving those contacts into more-and-more personally named categories ("close friend", "best friends", etc).

That bit is right in your face and rewards you for increased use.

I had no idea that was the case, but that's some next level psychological shit to be pulling on a predominantly teenage customer base. Does no one see the proposal to do something like this and think to step back for a second and consider the effect its going to have on people's lives?

In general the only people doing that are in marketing, and they only do so in the frame of trying to monetize that relationship/power/leverage.

Political wonks talk about it a lot and have various daydreams of having that type of power.

It's not talked about much, and when it is you can counter it by labeling it as a "kids these days" type argument.

I'm very skeptical. No doubt Snapchat is game-ified somewhat, but I have people aged 12 to 53 (and all ages in between) snapping with me and not a single one of them has ever mentioned their snap score. I'd bet most don't even know their score.

Trophies aren't really all that unlockable. Within the app, any trophy you haven't unlocked is a lock icon with ??? underneath it, so you don't even know what you need to do to achieve it. You can go online to find out, but neither my 12-year-old daughter nor my 17-year-old sister have bothered to do it. They just don't care. That's not what it's about for them.

It's her Cookie Clicker. Completely addicting and most of us can't figure out why. Maybe it's the number going up on her account info.

That's what I got out of the article. Oh, I get it now, they gamified chatting.

I didn't know snapchat had scores and that the experience around it was so... gamefied. It was a fun article to read.

This was my thought exactly. It's the new FarmVille.

How long will it last?

There's product placement. He namedrops "Treller" and "VSCO". The article isn't "How to upgrade your style", it "How to become a Snapchat user." Even his conclusion is "I'll try more", just like you tell yur teacher when you've failed and you know you'll fail again. I don't doubt the person is authentic, but I wonder how much he has worked with BuzzFeed to tune the article.

Still, 1. Snapchat's design is remarkable for its hidden features that you discover by social-networking, and 2. it's a much more interesting, funny, interactive press release presenting the features of a product than any other start-up I've seen. Next product video I make, I'll make it this way.

> 1. Snapchat's design is remarkable for its hidden features that you discover by social-networking

Honest question: isn't this just bad UI design?

No. If you look at snapchat as one of the most addicting games on the market right now, hidden features make complete sense. They increase the 'skill ceiling' of sorts, and dramatically increase user longevity.

I don't think so. It's simple for a firs time user, but has near limitless depth for hardcore users.

Non-snapchat user here. I find this hard to believe.

Occasional Snapchat user here. "Near limitless depth" is definitely overselling the thing.

Actually I think the article isn't about "How to become a Snapchat user." but rather "how teens use snapchat (or social media in general) that is really different than how adults use it" .

Going from that to "what social media teens use that you don't even know about" isn't much of a stretch.

I'm not sure if I'll call mentioning these apps as "product placement". Could be someone trying to up these app's SEO ranking. Could be just an interesting tidbit he used (he also mentioned instagram, and I doubt that was by request).

VSCO is definitely a phenomenon amongst teenagers, regardless of the product placement possibilities in the article. I'd actually have rather seen an article on that, because I find it fascinating that a service without any of the Skinner-box gratification buttons ("like" "retweet" "share" "comment") has taken off in such a big way.

VSCO has a rather large following among the prosumer crowd, most of the Apple "Shot on the iPhone 6" ads mention VSCO and a photographer friend of mine uses it on his iPad with his 5D on the go. While I haven't used it myself, its certainly been name checked quite a bit and its success is largely due to it being a more empowered Instagram on the photography side.

I know pro photographers who use VSCO to edit their iPhone shots to upload to Instagram, as the tools are so much more powerful than IG's own. It's a great app.

Scores and Chains, as mentioned in the article, sound pretty skinner-boxy. Plus, every time someone sends you a response to a message is a skinner box reward, in a sense.

Those are Snapchat, not VSCO. VSCO is pretty much devoid of social features beyond Follow, as far as I can tell.

VSCO is one of the few apps where I've bought something in app (filters). Most professional photographers I know use VSCO for mobile editing.

I've been looking for something just like VSCO anyway, so I'm glad to learn about it.

i'm just fascinated that i spend ages on facebook, twitter, reddit, hn and lobsters, and have never heard of VSCO before this. is there that little overlap between the demographics?

Also, I just googled Treller. It doesn't exist. Either that or I'm not even cool enough to know about it. What is Treller??????


What kind of hidden features?

It's amazing that at age 22 I've already seemingly "aged-out" of being an early adopter/power user of new social media (not that Snapchat is new, but I use it maybe once or twice a day and I've never even heard of "Triller" and "VSCO"). My 15 year old sister is always rolling her eyes telling me how to "correctly" use my existing social media apps and I've never heard of most of the new apps she's into.

I didn't know how to use Facebook when I was 18, so don't feel too bad. We grew up on IRC and PHPBB, social networks of fundamentally different make than the ones in use now.

Plus, you are (were) one of the dorks and your sister is one of the cool kids. The two groups have noticeably different modes of socialising.

There was for a brief period what I like to call the "wild west" of the web. All just shitty phpBB and whatnot boards for every topic. There was no concept of social media. I genuinely got to know the people, mods, smods, gmods, admins, superadmins (the list of "positions" was always comically long and induced great drama on most communities). I visited many of those people I formed connections with online, in person. I feel like social media has swallowed the people from these communities and created large "highways" instead of communities.

Facebook groups just aren't the same. There's something comforting knowing it was "just some fucking guy" hosting the website for fun.

I think that kind of cultural expression is something we need to protect and keep alive.

A future when all of our communities, all of our social interactions, are routed two a small amount of services hosted by great companies is one I don't look forward to.

That kind of thing - just setting something up for the hell of it, and slowly building a community, or a group of friends that way - to me it's very special.

I remember when I first encountered BBSes (mid to late 80s). Dialing into a slew of local systems and enlarging my social circle. Then there was the Internet and many of my former BBS social circle were deriding it, saying it didn't have that community feel.

I remember when I first encountered USENET (early 90s). Reading scores of USENET groups and enlarging my social circle, even going to far as to go to a yearly meeting one group held for several years. Then there was the World Wide Web that everything was being funneled in to. Most of the USENET crowd I was with were deriding it, saying it didn't have that community feel.

I remember when I first encountered Slashdot (late 90s). Reading score of comments on trending topics and again, enlarging my social circle. Then there was Digg and many on Slashdot were deriding that, saying it didn't have that community feel ...

That's all well and good but we've hit the top. Neither of those were billion dollar corporations.

I also remember when no one could get fired for buying IBM, and when no one could get fired for buying Microsoft. Both were also (and still are) billion dollar corporations.

I agree. That's sorta what HN used to feel like also...

I feel a bit the same way. I was running a BBS in 90s, which allowed only one person to connect at a time. I ended up meeting a big bunch of my users in person.

To recreate this, maybe I'll try starting a video chat when random people want to ask me for advice. Tried that today when someone sent me a random message on FB asking me for advice about living in Japan, was fun.

Yep. I was the same way. The community feel definetely got lost along the way.

> Plus, you are (were) one of the dorks and your sister is one of the cool kids. The two groups have noticeably different modes of socialising.

Very true. And like some of the other commentors are pointing out, it's somewhat sad that the old, more "natural" communities built over time are becoming a dying breed.

All communities evolve. I don't think there's anything particularly more natural about one approach or another (if anything I'd say phpBB promotes a very unnatural mode of conversation because of the way its "topics" work).

There's still a huge number of very active phpBB-type bulletin boards out their, with all the usual drama. They turn up whenever you search for help on a random non-tech topic. I love to visit the world for a little bit. It's like walking into a real locals' pub, where the regulars are at the bar chatting to the landlord about the crazy stuff Dave got up to at the weekend. They're probably the same people who go home and post on their homebrew, beekeeping, classic car, medieval history etc, etc forums.

P.S. as a corollary, if you were 14 today and on snapchat, you'd be one of the weird people she doesn't want to snapchat with and you'd be in the exact same position.

I still don't know how to use Facebook... Neither Snapchat or whatever social thing. I only need a text messaging app, which today is WhatsApp, and i'm fine.

With technology, the cultural gap between generations widens, but the time gap between generation ages actually shrinks. Every generation has their own technology and apps and I think it is fine. You, being 22, might not even use Facebook at all, whereas I, being 38, still use it, so I feel "aged-out" versus you. :) The problem with some of these new apps is the loss of "real" human connections. Like this girl said she almost does not even pay attention to her snaps because she gets so many. She just responds. What is the point of that? It seems it is more important for her to get high scores to show she is popular than the actual interaction. This might create some social and psychological problems for her later in life. At least this is my humble opinion. Full disclaimer: I am working on a social app too, but opposite of these current alternatives, we are focusing on the "real" part, the non-idealized part of human interaction.

In my experience so far it's a selective thing. Certain types of social media, apps or pop culture I am 'with' (Rick & Morty, certain indy games), but others I didn't even really understand years ago (twitter, myspace).

I'm in Seattle, so maybe I'm biased -- but many of my friends and I from 20s to 30s all enjoy Snapchat. The moments are real, time-limited, don't require a reply, aren't faked by filters, and aren't a popularity contest. That makes it a huge improvement over every other social network we use.

It's by far the easiest way to share a picture or moment with friends -- a photo is worth 1000 words and the location/time/velocity overlays add a lot of context. In many ways it's actually one of the most mature popular social networks -- it clearly learned from earlier social network attempts. I don't have to be "cool" to anyone but the relevant people to whom I send a snap.

It feels private enough -- hot girls like to use it and that will get anyone on any platform/club/bar/social location. Sorry to all of you who are using other slower, more ad-ridden networks and missing out.

Maybe I'm living in a bubble, but since when has SMS been a painful experience for messaging? If I'm texting whoever, whenever, I can send a snap and I have the bonus of not having to take a picture for every text I send. Plus in the days of modern texting, I use Messages from my computer which makes life even more pleasant as at work I'm able to keep in touch with friends/family without even glancing at my phone. I never have to worry if they're on a network with SMS.

MMS for picture messaging:

* picture quality sucks

* not ephemeral

* requires multiple clicks (snapchat is just one button)

* difficult to BCC (snapchat sending is ALL bcc, which is awesome)

* doesn't work well from country to country (if at all -- but getting snaps from my international friends is really really cool and works the same as local)

* no easy way to send video

* expects a reply

* is awkward to send in the middle of the night (snapchat is 100% non-emergency and just flashes the notification light)

* can't be sure anyone ever got it (snapchat forces read receipts)

*... the list is long.

Also usually costs several orders of magnitude more than the data.

Half of those are not true on iOS

That's because it isn't MMS. It's Apple's proprietary messaging system.

Does iOS lose MMS sent to "apostates" like it does for SMS?

I don't use Snapchat a lot but the idea is that you can share a moment with the people you have on it without expecting an answer because it's showed if they checked it or not.

An sms/mms appear in the form of a chat and you are like compelled to answer, at least to tell them that you got it.

I assume you and you friends don't work for Microsoft, since Snapchat is the highest-profile absentee from Windows Phone :P

Contrary to popular belief Microsoft doesn't really care what phone you use. Nor does it care if you use an iPad or Mac at home. I'd wager most Microsoft employees use Android, with iOS as close second and WP as distant third. A lot less distant than in the rest of the world, but third nevertheless.

MS employee here. Most of the older employees use Windows phones and most younger employees use iPhones. I was honestly surprised how many people own Windows phones.

And no, bosses/execs don't care what phone you have.

I consider myself an early-adopter. I always try to at least test out new technology, especially if it's what "the kids" are using. But with Snapchat I had a strong reaction of "this is dumb, screw this, I'm too old for this". Plus, no one I knew used it. I guess that makes me old now.

I didn't get it until literally this past Sunday. I've always had it installed on my phone, and have maybe ~10 friends on it, but I never actually sent anything. I would occasionally receive a snapchat from my friend, I would chuckle, and that was the end of it.

This Sunday my wife took my phone and just took a silly picture of ourselves during the Super Bowl and sent it to everyone on my list. Within minutes, I was getting a response from pretty much everyone, some people I haven't even talked to in months, and it was fun and made us laugh! I had the dumbest epiphany of my life. It's really just a fast, dumb way to communicate. That's it. Maybe I'll actually use it more now

This is why I like it, and I'm in my 30s.

It reminds me of Facebook back in the day, when it wasn't so serious. When it wasn't full of politics and Buzzfeed and not-so-humblebrags.

You don't have to worry (as much) about a silly photo coming back to haunt you in 10 years on Snapchat. It's much less formal feeling. The faces are my favorite; it's just a lot of fun to use.

I tried to use it, but I realized a core component was taking out my phone and snapping a pic in public. Using my phone in public makes me socially anxious (feel like I'm "part of the problem"), so I don't see a world where I can really snapchat.

Ah, social anxiety.

Nobody cares what you do in public.

I do.

It really is just another social medium.

We used to have ICQ, AIM, MSN, YIM, and a host of other lesser known methods to chat. This is just one geared toward sending quick pictures. I doubt the privacy part of it is even significant to most users.

I'm not sure why so many of us don't "get" Snapchat. Really it just corrects one of the biggest "features" of social apps: that they're essentially public-facing, permanent popularity contests.

On Snapchat, every picture and chat message self-destructs by default, so there's less social pressure to post something truly extraordinary. There's no publicly visible tracking of likes, so you're not tempted to compare your popularity with others. There is no infinite history where you can come across something old that will make you embarrassed and upset (e.g. records of bad decisions, photos with an ex).

Sending snaps back and forth is great for staying in touch with friends without having to converse about a particular topic. For acquaintances who you don't know as well, an amusing snap is a great icebreaker. And for when you DO want to have a conversation, there's both an IM and a video chat.

The Discover feature where you see content from VIPs directly competes with a significant use-case of Twitter in the target demographic. But unlike Twitter, it's more visual, more immersive, and because of its temporal nature, more exclusive.

Moreover, teens hate creeps. You know every time someone views your snap. You know when someone screenshots your snap. You know when your chat is read. You know when someone views your story. Your audience is exactly who you choose. It's not the internet at large. It's not your mom, it's not the weird guy in your school who found your profile, and it's not people way outside your age-range who are thirst-liking your selfies and making you uncomfortable.

I don't "get" Snapchat any more than I get Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. etc. These social apps (which are about as social as reality TV is reality) all are more about promotion than communication. In order to get into these apps you need to have a personality that seeks constant attention from others and external validation. The platforms are all about "broadcasting me and tracking the acknowledgement of me", which is great if you're advertising a corporate brand but kind of sad and self-absorbed if you're a person.

What you described is extroversion which by some measures is 3/4 of the population.

What I described is narcissism

Also keeping vaguely aware of what old friends and acquaintances are doing. I've had some interesting reunions purely as a result of Facebook.

From the other comments on this thread and my tiny bit of Snapchat use, I think you're wrong about Snapchat being in the "promotion [over] communication" bucket. As a largely private, ephemeral communication medium, it seems much worse for promotional purposes than other social networks.

This is a great response. I'd add that you can meet people on Snapchat without giving away too much private detail, like a phone number.

The new 2d printed avatars that allow you to easily add people you meet are perfect. Shows Snapchat really understand their audience.

Snapchat may have been bootstrapped with sexting but it is so much more than that now. They've hit on something that no other social network has - an audience of regular people who aren't selling anything, who want to retain their privacy and who want to have fun with friends and acquiantances online.

So much of the content I see on Snapchat would never be shared anywhere else - and a lot of the people sharing it are those who weren't interested in building a profile on public pages.

I was told that Snapchat was full of naked pictures of cute younger women. For some reason it seems to be filled with short videos of startup executive types about my age driving around and getting coffee. Oh well.

Old and right. It is dumb.

What in holy blazes, 60 gigabytes in a month just for one fucking stupid app?

1) what carrier does that girl have? And at what cost? With German internet prices, we'd look at a 500€ per month alone for data, not to mention other data using apps, calls, SMSes...

2) what the fuck, I use Netflix at home quite regularly and rarely exceed 50 GByte (I'm on a 50/5 VDSL so it isn't a lack of speed) of traffic. How many billions of crappy front cam selfies can be shared in 60 GB of data?

> 60 gigabytes in a month just for one fucking stupid app?

And they don't even look at the pictures!

maybe snapchat should take note and send a 100byte version first with progressive improvement if the image is visible for more than 0.8 seconds (or whatever the threshold is).

I think one or both have no no clue about gigabytes. It has to be video. Lots of video.

Probably streaming and replaying youtube videos, or something similar. Not that hard to run through several gb in a few hours. Multiply by 30 (days/month) and you can see 60 gb a month being easily doable.

Torrenting games and 1080p movies is even worse - at 10-60 gb a pop, the time to hit a 300 gb cap is limited only by your download speed.

You are not the typical user. You can just get an unlimited tarif and be done with it.

> You can just get an unlimited tarif and be done with it.

Um, if you're in the U.S. probably not. Most have some kind of limits even on 'unlimited' such as your connection goes to ISDN speed.

Even my cable modem has a 350GB a month cap which I occasionally exceed.

> Um, if you're in the U.S. probably not. Most have some kind of limits even on 'unlimited' such as your connection goes to ISDN speed.

Yeah... but in Germany the biggest cap available is 10GB for 25€ (http://www.billiger-telefonieren.de/mobiles-internet-verglei...) and these are data-only SIMs, truly unlimited does not exist for us.

On the other hand, while shockingly low caps are generally accepted on mobile, people do protest whenever a provider tries to place caps on landline (VDSL, DOCSIS) contracts.

Germany is literally the exception. Even in the US you can get high data caps on mobile. Also some of that data will go via wifi.

I'm in the UK, and pay £33/m ($50) for unlimited 4G data, calls and texts, of which 12GB can be used for tethering. It includes roaming to 14 other countries at no extra cost. This is on a 1 month, SIM-only contract on Three. I think this is good value.

In the US it's not an issue to have 60GB per month. Neither on mobile nor on cable.

Well, no, it's not an "issue"... if you're willing to pay $375-475/month for a 60GB mobile data plan.

> Well, no, it's not an "issue"... if you're willing to pay $375-475/month for a 60GB mobile data plan.

What plans are you looking at? For a family of 4, unlimited data on T-mobile for instance costs 150 USD for the entire family or 37.5 USD per phone.

T-mobile, to be sure, I didn't look at. But with that plan, "if you are in the top 3% of users" (which 60GB/month is likely to be, especially as that's just one of those four users), your data use will be slowed to 2G speeds.

"typical download speeds of 40Kbps-200Kbps and upload speeds of 20-80 Kbps"

Snapchat is going to get pretty painful pretty quickly.

But nobody uses 60GB of data on data only. When you're at home you're typically connected to Wifi. Also in many ways that's besides the point. Usage on mobile devices is skyrocketing and in particular young users are the reason for it. At this point high data usage per month is not exactly an exception but the norm.

Maybe I should have read more closely, my assumption was that that referred to cellular data.

But in principle, I absolutely agree with you. Caps, etc? Should go away, yesterday.

I have an associate who travels and eschews wifi. He used like 75GB/month.

I didn't fully read the article but I've got wifi at home, wifi at work, wifi at uni. My phone automatically connects to all of 'm. Hell I've got wifi at some friends, even at the parents of my gf when I stayed over for a weekend.

So most of my data use is not from my phone's data plan. Did she specify it was?

That having been said, 60gb is a shitload and I think 1) it may not be true and 2) she's an outlier who uses snaps for scoring. While undoubtedly more people do that, most young people I know send a few snaps a day at most, not 40 over breakfast.

> What in holy blazes, 60 gigabytes in a month just for one fucking stupid app?

I didn't get the impression from the article that this was exclusively snapchat. I agree you'd have a hard time hitting 60gb/mo unless you're streaming a lot of video. To be fair, snapchat does have video, and the whole point of this exercise is that we cannot fathom how The Children use it these days, so...who knows.

If she has an iPhone, just auto-backup to the cloud might cost her much more bytes than the picture alone. (They actually shoot a short video for each picture.)

Snapchat doesn't autobackup to the cloud. It's whole thing is that it's ephemeral.

It's funny how they dodged several technical challenges by deciding to do that.

Snapchat is not, but does the iOS camera app that takes the picture do the backup?

The photo is taken by Snapchat, not the camera app.

It's interesting to hear everyone saying 'ah, I'm too old for Snapchat'. At face value I feel that way too, but I think there's something more going on here.

Snapchat strikes me as a really unique modality. It's not really a message type that we can draw some kind of lineage back to PARC or Bell Labs or whatever. Slack follows a familiar pattern of 'oh yeah, that's just like IRC and they had those running on Altos a million years ago'. SMS, yeah that's just chat. And so on...

Was there a Snapchat equivalent back in the dark ages of networked computers? Not that I'm familiar with (although I'd love to see an example). I think that fact points to a meaningful difference between the computer that's in your hand or your pocket all the time and the 'workstation' that's on your desk. A computer that's always with you can deliver different kinds of messages and project different kinds of presence from other people you know. I hope Snapchat is just the beginning of this.

Snapchat doesn't have some kind of physical equivalency like a book or a note on the fridge. I don't think appreciating that is necessarily pegged to age, but more to openness. Snapchat is just legitimately unfamiliar and unusual. From afar, I think that's great.

Seems kind of like Zwrite: text-only, ephemeral messages. It was just text that appeared in your terminal session. My friends and I used it in (engineering) grad school in the late 90's.

Good god, there's still a manual online: http://web.stanford.edu/group/privacyproject/currentStateUni...

"They have no control over what text the message replaces, but can always press the key combination control-L to restore their screen."

"Oh, yeah, that's just like seeing someone in person and not recording anything about that conversation, and they had that on people a million years ago."


I agree with your view and I'm still too old. Being old is more of a reason of not having a group of friends on SC. I'm sure I could pick it up the weird app but, for me it's a medium I need to experience with real friends and I don't see that happening

Snapchat is what Edsger Dijkstra describes as a "radical novelty".

My close friend in her mid-20s is teaching a journalism class to high school students, using SnapChat. I've been fascinated by the student's perspective. They all use Snapchat.

One of the most interesting responses I heard what that Snapchat was what they used to connect with people they didnt know too well, but wanted to stay in touch with. For example, if they meet someone, but dont know them too well, they would exchange Snapchat information. It is literally like Facebook was for the last generation.

>It is literally like Facebook was for the last generation.

This makes a lot of sense. I was starting college in 2005 when facebook was really starting to blow up, and this was exactly how I used (and enjoyed) it. There were times when I would just flip through the directory of people in my college and if I recognized your face from class or walking around, I'd add you, send a few messages to break the ice, then meet in person if it felt like we connected.

If anyone else is like me and started with facebook around this time and still has their profile, take a look at some of the posts and friends you had from over 10 years ago. It's pretty remarkable to get such a look at your younger self.

Because facebook is full of companies and old people.

Snapchat is not about snapchat, it is about having a space to themselves.

And ten years from now, the kids are going to want to have a space for themselves, after all the companies and old people are on Snapchat.

It looks like anyone can create new myspace, facebook, snapchat, twitter, instagram, ... as long as they time it right with the previous one running out of steam and make it faster to interact with. I'm not sure what can be faster than snapchat though - live stream?

Has to be something that lets you fix it up and present your "best self"; looking cooler then you really are in a critical component of any social network.

Maybe, but sharing your intimate, ugly, unrefined, front-camera-self seems to have appeal on Snapchat.

A direct neural interface, paired to a bi-directional low latency satellite feed.

That way users can see,hear,smell,feel & taste everything that their friends are experiencing .... simultaneously, and in real time. Continuously, all day, everyday.

Now, who wouldnt want that ?

it already started happening - we're all paying attention to it and I bet more than half the people here are trying to work out how to make money from it.

Once the service obtains requirement status. Where everyone joins it becomes more real and more serious. E-Mail is serious, Facebook is serious, LinkedIn is serious but Snapchat is still innocent and fun.

Adding adults to a service is the sure fire way to run off the children.

These young people are addicted to their phones and snapchat.

Later on in life, when they 'grow out' of snapchat, they will replace the addiction with something else - some other app, but also food, drugs or sex.

Whatever thing they will find interesting, they will pursue it with the same pattern that they learn with these apps / games.

This future generation will have to find a way to live with all this addictive technology and survive in the real world.

Might well be that Snapchat (and others) will be looked at as we're now looking at cigarettes.

You're looking back with rose-coloured glasses. I did the same thing with ICQ, MSN Messenger, etc. for chat. I did the same thing with Ultima Online and Counterstrike for gaming. I mean shit, there was a few weekends where my best mate from school and I camped a spawn of particular monsters in UO such that we spent about 17 hours total there each day of the weekend for a few weekends. When one needed to go (dinner, lunch, toilet) the other controlled their pets and vice versa. Why? Cause we were teens with heaps of spare time and no commitments.

Teens go through this phase. They're time-rich, money-poor and have few commitments and obligations. In the 70s and 80s they spent the time at an arcade becoming savant-level good at pacman or asteroids or whatever. A natural part of leaving your teens is slowly inheriting a bunch of obligations that you must meet (bills, employment, etc.) which take away the free time you had to utterly saturate yourself in whatever hobbies you had, and thus you become more selective in what sinks you plough your time into (and the depth of those sinks).

This is no worse than what any other generation went through. There'll be outliers of whatever time sinks in any generation. Don't sweat it.

I'll bet you raised enough gold to get a few pairs of blessed black sandals though. And maybe even some neon hair dye.

We were farming efreets for daemon bone armour, in that particular case.

We're all addicted to a million things (by this definition of addiction)

It's only negative when that becomes a problem somehow in your life.

It's not even clear to me that we'd be better off with a fully mindful approach to every pleasure and activity.

What is unhealthy though, is disparaging everything other people enjoy. Especially when you don't have the courage to say "I don't like it" but couch your disapproval in terms of concern for their "addictions"

it sounds to me from reading that article that her use of it is somewhat problematic.

> disparaging everything other people enjoy

I think you're always overgeneralizing everything...

I don't think so. When I was a teenager I spent hours talking on the phone with friends (even though I had just seen them that day at school) then later on AOL then instant messenger (I'm old). At that age your world revolves around your friends and communicating with them is important. Later we all get jobs and spend most of our time doing other things and it doesn't seem as important to be constantly talking to our friends. We also don't have the common social environment of high school or college with all that entails to talk about.

Reminds me of Brave New World, where the general population lives in a shallow lifestyle void of any meaning.

Seem like a pattern, predicting that future, is emerging. E.g. My parent's teenage hobby was musical instruments. Mine was playing video games. Kids today it seems is responding to selfies.

pg also has a good essay on the Acceleration of Addictiveness* that seems relevant.


    > shallow lifestyle void of any meaning
Sounds to me like they're communicating with other humans.

could say the same about facebook likes & comments and how a phone conversation still feels far deeper.

"Kids today it seems is responding to selfies"

Which is more social than either of the other hobbies you mentioned. How is it shallow and void of any meaning?

> Which is more social than either of the other hobbies you mentioned.

The girl in TFA just dumps the snapchats she's sent, flicking through them just to be rid of them. She's not being social, she's just incrementing a counter to boast about. Well, unless you're calling the boasting the social part, I guess, but I wouldn't say that that was more social than learning a musical instrument.

I'm sure adults said the same thing about video games. "What will these kids replace their video game addiction with when they outgrow it? Drugs?!"

And sure enough, by the time those kids grew up, marijuana has become legalized (for "medical use" at least) in several states...

On the other hand, they have a lot of free time, and need to find ways to get social validation. I used to spend hours on ICQ or whatever, and there will always be something they use for that point. All in all, its something that is socially important for them right now, but that doesn't matter on the long view

Guy in my 30's, I was addicted to msn/yahoo messenger, ebaumsworld, fark, digg and now reddit.

I hope this comment isn't serious...

The more things change the more things stay the same...reading this tip:

> BROOKE: Don’t Snapchat boys that you like first — wait until they Snapchat you.

Reminded me of the movie All About Eve (1950), when Bill says: "What I go after, I want to go after. I don't want it to come after me. Don't cry. Just score it as an incomplete forward pass."

...and of course, everything else in past and modern Western culture that advises women to be the chased.

[1] https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/All_About_Eve

I think our distaste for this obvious misdirection of human attention goes beyond mere "kids these days" prejudice. SV startups,"social," "interconnectedness," this nonsense is creating an asinine, infantilized generation: easily manipulated, desperate for social acceptance, incapable of independent thought, and entirely beholden to the whims of mainstream society. This cutesy "adult finds himself going with the flow" motif just further normalizes this endless, pathetic pattern of adults emulating children. Barack Obama and Matt Lauer are taking selfies!? Enough.

Every generation presents the symptoms you list. The newest generations are no more asinine than the Silent Generation, the Boomers, the Greatest or their parents before.

Protesting child labor in beginning of the 20th century? How beholden to the whims of mainstream society, how desperate those people must have been for social acceptance that they protested such a common and accepted practice.

How were the older generations so incapable of independent thought to be easily conned into warring in the Middle East? The Drug Wars? Vietnam? Korea? Prohibition? Wars in Texas/Mexico and with pre-existing indigenous peoples?

How on earth did massive, completely non-functional flares in the legs of pants, or oversized suitcoats, or cravats ever make sense?

When we learn to love the awareness and consciousnesses around us we can love the change for simply being, instead of decrying it for being different from what we've previously experienced.

I think no generation has really seen their criticism of the new generation as "kids these days" prejudice. If they did think that, they wouldn't say the words with such conviction. But, that is kinda what it looks like, right?

Perhaps this line of thinking is why many adults of today let the kids run rampage while matters of immediate importance to them go unattended. It is often difficult for a thinking person to admit to a sense of certainty, but at the risk of seeming to exclude myself from that group, I have to say that I believe this is a sheer waste of time, and almost certainly an intellectually destructive one. It is not necessarily that the kids ought to find another form of leisure, but that the amount of time and energy dedicated to this activity is unreasonable. And unlike some forms of leisure, this one bears no fruit. In the years to come, I think there will be few able to say that much of their time devoted to SnapChat and other such platforms was well spent.

Its probably fair to say that intellectual skepticism could be leading to doubt here. However, couldn't it also be that the historical understanding that every generation has fears about the state of the next and how they spend their time leads to reasonable skepticism? Video games, Dungeons and Dragons, Rock music, Jazz music etc. etc. etc.

First off - when did any of those lead to harm, considering they don't really concretely "bear fruit"?

Secondly - how is the time spent on social media "really really" the one we are being reasonable about this time?

"And unlike some forms of leisure, this one bears no fruit."

Increased connection with peers, for one. It's incredibly easy to network now. I'm young, and wasn't around for what you're looking back on as the good old days, but I disagree that there is no value to being able to send a one off "look what I'm doing" to a friend.

"Increased connection with peers, for one. It's incredibly easy to network now."

Is it, really? The girl in this article basically doesn't even LOOK at the pictures. The "conversation" is effectively: "Look at what I'm doing" "I don't care what you're doing" "Look at what I'm doing" "I don't care what you're doing" That doesn't seem like "increased connection".

But, this is also what I expect from a 13 year old.

Replace "SnapChat" with "Television" or "Video Games" in your comments, and the meaning is no different. Do you feel the same way about all diversionary forms of leisure?

SnapChat was designed to foster deliberately forgettable experiences.

Good TV shows and video games are highly memorable, perhaps even life-changing experiences.

I think it's valid to say that there are varying levels of quality in leisure.

Its easy to dismiss as more of the same, just different fads.

But 'kids these days' are actually threatened this time. With inactivity, sugar, constant media bombardment, record-short attention spans. The list goes on. They're being raised in an environment that no animal was ever exposed to before in history.

And they keep making more frantic devices, and the kids keep buying them. And we'll run off the cliff like lemmings and wonder what happened.

Sure, just like the previous generation, and the one before it, and ...

The majority of people in any country are basically useless idiots w.r.t making policy decisions or creating something beneficial for society. That said, we can't discount the social benefit of the subset who are basically idiots but empathetic care-givers.

The shame is the number of resources being consumed by useless idiots in developed countries and elites vs. say useless idiots in Afghanistan or Bangladesh.

I agree that the fact that apps are becoming Skinner boxes is problematic.

> this nonsense is creating an asinine, infantilized generation: easily manipulated, desperate for social acceptance, incapable of independent thought, and entirely beholden to the whims of mainstream society.

As far as I can tell, most people in any time period have been like this.

Desperate for social acceptance: There's that "keeping up with the Joneses" thing. Nothing new.

Incapable of independent thought: If most people in the past had been capable, mass movements like Christianity, Islam, Nazism, Communism etc. would never have caught on like they did.

Easily manipulated: Didn't aristocrats etc. manipulate peasants/serfs back in the Middle Ages?

Obvious misdirection of human attention? Snapchat is a fantastic app.

So fantastic that the amount of time and energy this girl and her peers dedicate to its use is well directed? And here I'd thought it only enables one to send photographs to one's friends, with a scoring system to encourage the development of addictive behavior.

You could say the same of nearly any fad that resonates with teenagers. My point was plenty of people I know, across various ages, use Snapchat as a replacement for MMS. I would hardly classify that as an obvious misdirection of human attention.

It's amazing how much our priorities change as we move through life.

Once we've experienced quantity, quality gains importance. Simultaneously, our need for social acceptance might not diminish, but it becomes far more refined.

Enlightening article.

Youth is wasted on the young.

I've loved video games since I was about 7. I've made a good living off of video games.

In my thirties, I never once thought "Man, I wish I'd spent more time playing video games in my twenties."

Now, as I turn 40, I wonder how different my life would have been if I'd spent more time doing other things, instead of playing video games.

The process of aging is impossible to convey fully, but it's fascinating to be on the other side, having lived the transition.

> Now, as I turn 40, I wonder how different my life would have been if I'd spent more time doing other things, instead of playing video games.

Do you mind sharing what these other things are, specifically? Thanks!

1. Playing fewer video games in university, and focusing more on studying so that I didn't fail my final year. I started university three years early, which has opened doors, but having a degree would have opened more. Also, paying more attention to electromagnetics and thermodynamics.

2. Continuing to train for Tennis. You really can get too old to do this at an elite level. I love training, and I love being in the zone: perceiving / acting / crushing the opposition. Sport is a natural fit for my attention, physicality, and aggression, whereas long-term projects are more of an uphill battle.

3. More travel, although I'm not really that interested in individual people, so perhaps it would have been wasted. To the extent that I'm interested in other people now, it's to figure out what they know that I don't know and how they acquired that knowledge or experience.

Don't get me wrong. My life is pretty sweet, but I do have regrets. It's more that I'm realizing the difference between turning 30 and turning 40. At 30 you can pretty much do everything you could do in your twenties. At 40, doors are closing, esp. regarding physical injuries and recuperation.

I just kind of always assumed that I'd have a PhD by 25, be a concert pianist, a professional tennis player, and a software millionaire. I've had brushes with each, but so far no completion. Boo fucking hoo, right? Unrealistic expectations.

Thanks so much for sharing. At 25, I've been feeling a teeny tiny version of that (I had a lot of free time in my teenage years that I frittered away, and wish I had spent it developing skills). But I realize that 10, 20 years from now I'm going to look at today the same way, too.

Never regretted being an athlete, and it's never too late to start.

I was a provincially-ranked tennis player as a teenager. But yeah, definitely regret not going further with that while I was young. Had a stroke last year. It was pretty hard realizing that after a certain point, no you really can't be an elite athlete.

There's something that happens to a man when he's 25. When you're 24, you still have time to go to Tibet for 10 years. To get superfit. To master multiple martial arts; jejetsu, karate, krav maga; and to return.. as The Batman.

Sorry to hear that.

It's not about being elite. I know a ton of guys in the bodybuilding community, and they basically say "if I don't think I'm going to WIN, I'm not even going to start."

So now it's been three years since they've stepped on the stage. That's a ton of wasted time for a "bodybuilder".

I don't get that way of thinking.

When I compete in sports, I compete to have fun, make friends, and compete to NOT GET LAST PLACE. This isn't my passion, it's my fun man-outlet. Let the maniacs have first place.

> It's not about being elite. I know a ton of guys in the bodybuilding community, and they basically say "if I don't think I'm going to WIN, I'm not even going to start."

Yeah, this is a trap. I actually enjoy the training, as long as I'm seeing some progress.

> When I compete in sports, I compete to have fun, make friends, and compete to NOT GET LAST PLACE.

I'm not interested in the social aspect at all, for better or worse. In part this is because I've seen social / club players fail to improve because of bad habits they pick up and reinforce during social play. My parents spent a bunch of money on training, but I also picked up a lot of bad habits due to incorrect technique from parental coaching.

I should say that for me the sweetest moment is after hitting an ace, a winner, or running down a ball I didn't think I could get. It's not necessarily about the win, but about the perfect shot, the sweet feeling of it, the sound of it, the smell of the ball, etc. So, that's definitely something I can still enjoy.

I spent some time this fall solo-practicing against a ball-machine and watching Roger Federer videos on Youtube. My backhand is better than it's been at any point in my development.

I think it's important to aim for excellence, not just competence, because I see many players' development limited by basically not taking the sport seriously.

But of course, what ever makes you happy. My cruel task-master is that excellence makes me happy.

So overall, very positive. The core of the regret is more like -- huh, if I had realized how to study / train systematically ten-twenty years ago I could be on a different trajectory.

I'm laughing at all the people that "feel old". This kid is 13! Literally a child. If you're in your late 20's or 30's, you're not old, you're just not a child anymore. Snapchat is nothing that new. It's just communicating with your friends in a different way that before was not possible. It's like texting on steroids. I don't see the big deal, and I definitely don't like the fact that you can't save them. What's the point of data if you can't save it? What if you capture a truly awesome moment? I'm sure they'll come around at some point and add the option to save snaps within a certain timeframe.

"What's the point of data if you can't save it? What if you capture a truly awesome moment?"

You can download your own snaps from the app within 24 hours if you posted it to your story (which you probably did).

In retrospect (I'm 36), I think I was a child until I was at least 30, and most of my friends were the same. I'm not sure if I still would be if I hadn't had kids.

"Parents don’t understand. It’s about being there in the moment."

In WHAT moment? That moment when someone snapchats a snapchat for the sake of snapchatting?

Hey, I have a 14yo son who texts like a maniac and never takes his earbuds out of his ears. He has hundreds of thousands of views on his G+ profile, which is the thing him and his friends are all over. But lately they've moved to Facebook because they follow their favorite Bands' pages.

It's so confusing.

If our parents wanted to know what was going on in our lives, they quietly picked up the other phone on the land-line in the house and eavesdropped.

Now, we have to snoop and lurk on our kids' social profiles, or try to sneak a peak at their texts when their phones buzz.

"being there in the moment" = dopamine squirts

being there in the moment = social pressure to fit in and participate in shared rituals

I don't think the knowing-what-your–kids-are-up-to part is that much different, at least for me. If my parents had wanted to snoop on my social life in high school, they would've had to figure out how to dial up BBSs, which they didn't really have any understanding of. Granted, Snapchat has a much bigger userbase than BBSs did.

They are liking G+ - now that is revolution ...

There's a school of thought that says that people use apps like this not to follow the pleasure principal, but that these platforms provide a brief escape from the neurotransmitters asdociated with anxiety that make us feel bad (1). This actually okay Buzzfeed article (who knew?) pretty much confirms that, only the thesis is distorted by the sample group being excitable teenage girls.

Seeing the film Boyhood reminded me of how fluid your identity is at this age. I think these teens will discard Snapchat forms of communication in a few years, as you change so much in this window. (1) http://kernelmag.dailydot.com/issue-sections/features-issue-...

I actually caught a glimpse of this behavior a few weeks ago. I was sitting next to a kid who was maybe around 16 years old snapchatting to his friends that our flight was about to depart. He must have taken around 20 selfies, each with a series of seemingly nonsensical emoji's in the span of 3 minutes.

I was staring dumbfoundedly the entire time. It blew my mind, and made me realize how out of touch I am in my 27 years of age.

Hm. If you are 27 like myself, you were around for MySpace which was just as bad selfie-wise.

I'm 25 and most people I know my age use this app heavily. Maybe not 20 in such a short span but I would still expect heavy use pre takeoff. I don't think this is entirely an age thing especially when we're talking about 20 and 30 years olds.

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